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Mõis offers Greens money if party changes attitude towards Rail Baltic

Jüri Mõis.
Jüri Mõis. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

The Estonian Greens announced on Wednesday that a “known figure in Estonian business and politics” had offered them a deal: If the Greens ceased their opposition to Rail Baltic, said person would pay for their election campaign. Though the Greens didn’t want to give up a name, businessman Jüri Mõis confirmed that he had made the offer.

Though the Greens did not want to give up the name of the person that had offered them the deal, businessman and former mayor of Tallinn Jüri Mõis came forward later on Monday and confirmed that it had been him.

Chairwoman of the Greens, Züleyxa Ismailova, said on Monday morning that they had been made the offer in the second half of May. The proposition had been very specific: Their campaign costs in their entirety would be covered if the party changed its stance in the matter of Rail Baltic.

The Estonian Greens along with other environmentalist groups have been campaigning against the new railway line.

Ismailova said that they had tried to convince the party’s would-be benefactor of their arguments, but to no avail. And that’s how the thing ended. The Greens refused to name the person.

Mõis: Opposing Rail Baltic “small strategic error” of Greens

On Monday afternoon, Mõis then came forward and said that he had made the proposition. Mõis was mayor of Tallinn between 1999 and 2001 as well as minister of the interior for a short time in 1999. He has since been successful in business.

Mõis told ERR that he met with representatives of the Greens on May 24, and that he had met with several parties looking for people possibly on the same page with him. “And I was looking for like-minded people I could be a candidate with,” he added.

He had considered quite seriously to be a candidate on the Greens’ list, Mõis said, though they didn’t agree on the issue of Rail Baltic. “I tried to change their minds. The Greens of the whole world are always in favor of trains and against cars. I thought that I might convince them that they’ve made a small strategic error,” Mõis said.

The Green movement appealed to him a lot, Mõis added. That’s why he offered to take on the party’s entire campaign expenses—in return for a change of course concerning Rail Baltic.

“I want to ride this train”

“I want to ride this train, I see enormous benefits there,” Mõis said. He stressed that he didn’t stand to make any personal gain from supporting the project.

Had the Greens accepted his offer, he would have looked for other donors beside himself, Mõis added. The plan had never been to just “transfer €200,000 euros to their account”. He added that he was still planning to run for local office, but that it wasn’t clear yet whose list he would eventually join, or whether he would start a new one.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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